Mohammed Shami has impressed one and all with his ability to get reverse swing on the very first day of his Test career but his childhood coach Badruddin Siddique is not at all surprised as he has seen him practice the art since his U-16 days.
“I don’t know about others but Shami had the ability to get reverse swing since he was 16 years old. He has practised a lot to perfect the reverse delivery that comes into the right hander. He has done that a number of times in Ranji Trophy also,” an ecstatic Badruddin told PTI on Wednesday as Shami made a dream debut with figures of 4 for 71 in the first Test against West Indies.
Badruddin then let out the secret of Shami’s success in the longer format.
“During junior level tournaments in and around Moradabad, Shami would always request organizers to give him the old red balls used in the tournament. I would then watch him regularly polish one side and keep the shine of those semi-new balls. If he didn’t get anyone, then he would get hold of little boys to stand on one side of the wall and just try to get reverse with high-arm action,” the coach recalled.
Badruddin feels that right from the time he made his ODI debut against Pakistan in Delhi, last winter, he knew that it would be difficult for the selectors to keep him out of the longer version for long time.
“Look at his first-class record. He has got almost four wickets per match (71 first-class wickets from 18 games). The temperament he showed against Pakistan in a low-scoring tie gave me confidence that he is ready for the big league”, he said.
“He works up international standard pace and with that he can swing the ball both ways. He has a good bouncer and you will see him bowling the delivery that reverses away in near future” Badruddin said.
“The only thing he needs to develop is a potent slower delivery. I am not saying this because he is my student but he is ready to learn. Some people get better at the higher level and it holds true in case of Shami,” he explained.
Making his debut at Eden Gardens also helped Shami, feels the coach.
“Eden Gardens is a ground that Shami knows like the back of his hand. You need to know what length to hit on a particular strip and when it’s Eden, Shami knows it better than a lot of others.”
Till yesterday night, Badruddin was feeling sad that he won’t be able to witness Shami’s Test debut at the hallowed Eden Gardens but not anymore though.
“He is like my son and obviously a ‘father’ is proud of his son’s achievements. Shami wanted me to be present at the Eden Gardens tomorrow as he was not ready to take no for an answer. I had to tell him that there is a U-16 state level match going on over here and I am in-charge of arrangements. I couldn’t have left as much as I wanted to be there.”
There were talks that Shami might leave his adopted home state Bengal for his native Uttar Pradesh but his coach rubbished those rumours.
“Bengal cricket has given him everything that he has got today. Success, fame, recognition and money. He is an honest young man and will never do something which his conscience wouldn’t allow him. And if that situation ever arises, I would never let him leave Bengal,” he added.